John and Elizabeth Armstrong, major supporters of the College of Engineering and numerous other education and science related endeavors across the state, will receive the President’s Medal on June 23 at the annual UMass Evening at the Pops at Boston’s Symphony Hall.
The medal will also be presented to the Charlton Charitable Trusts, which represent the legacy of the late Earle P. Charlton, founder of the former Fall River-based F. W. Woolworth Company department stores. The trusts donated $3 million in 1997 to the UMass Dartmouth College of Business. The trusts also support merit-based undergraduate and graduate scholarships at the Dartmouth campus.
The event will be hosted by President Jack M. Wilson and Grace K. Fey, who chairs the Board of Trustees.
The Armstrongs moved to Amherst in 1995 after John Armstrong completed a 30-year career with IBM that included positions as vice president for science and technology and director of research. The couple soon became deeply engaged in the Amherst campus and established the Armstrong Endowment to support a full-time professor within the College of Engineering. That professor, David McLaughlin, recently secured funding for a $40 million research center that will develop a new generation of weather forecasting technology.
John Armstrong also joined the Dean’s Advisory Council of the College of Engineering and has served on Wilson’s High Technology Executive Advisory Panel and on a statewide steering committee that recently recommended a comprehensive science and technology strategy for Massachusetts. He also was a presidential appointee to the National Science Board, chaired the governing board of the American Institute of Physics, and served as a member of the National Academy of Engineering.
Elizabeth Armstrong recently co-chaired the Hampshire County United Way de Tocqueville Society campaign and currently chairs the Five College chapter of Learning in Retirement. She is also active in the Dickinson Homestead.
“John and Elizabeth Armstrong are generous friends of the University and of Massachusetts,” Wilson said. “These are people who challenge us by their example to continue learning and discovery. Though they are neither natives of Massachusetts or alumni of the University, we are all fortunate that they have adopted the state and its university.”
The President’s Medal is the highest honor bestowed by the University, and is awarded to individuals who have pursued excellence and whose achievements are a reflection of the high ideals and traditions of the University.
Past winners include former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, former General Motors CEO Jack Smith, former Boston Celtics coach Rick Pitino and Nabors Industries CEO Eugene Isenberg.